Seeing as though this is my first blog post, I thought I would use it to explain the title of this blog, “Feed Tia.”
Tia is my white female Pit Bull Terrier. I purchased her not long after I graduated from college and moved to Durham, North Carolina. She was born deaf in one ear and could hear very little from the other. I took her to obedience school, but still she was always very defensive, jumpy , and protective. Unfortunately, she is everything that gives pit bulls a bad name; she is aggressive, and unpredictable, but I love her anyway. I raised her since a puppy and she was always there for me when I had no one else. She knows when I am sad and jumps right in front of me when she thinks I am in danger.
Our home has a reputation of being the house with the scary “cujo” about to jump through the window. When members of our church helped us move in, she nearly chewed through the bedroom door. However, after Tia gets to know and trust you, she is a sweetheart and will love you forever. The same dog that looked like she wanted to rip your throat out will lay in your lap and wash your face for you, but that is after she knows you are a good person. She loves our cats and gets along generally with other dogs, but she does not trust people.
Before I became a Christian, I was involved in Satanism and the occult. I had never really seen the love of Christ, only the more judgmental “accept Christ or burn in Hell.” Long story short (a story I will tell in more detail later on this blog), my husband , Joe, and I shared our home with other occultists, and as expected following such a dark path, things got violent. Our two housemates had us arrested for assault. I spent about three weeks in jail, and one of the things that worried me most was Tia. I was terrified that I might lose her. I knew that if the police searched the house, they would shoot her. Our neighbor watched out for her and took care of our pets, but one time he was away, and as I feared the police did show up to search the house. By this time, several inmates had shared the Bible with me, and I had started reading some passages and slowly reaching out to Christ.
One night during visitation hours, our neighbor, Jim, showed up to visit me. He showed me pictures of our pets and assured me Tia was fine. He said the police did search the house, and when he came over that night to feed Tia and the cats, the back door was open and Tia was running around outside in the backyard. There was a notice on the door saying animal control had picked up one of our cats because the police thought the animals had been abandoned, and would be back to collect the others. Jim talked to the police to find out what had happened. Apparently when the police showed up, one of the officers was able to get Tia to follow him outside while they searched the house. There is no way this would have happened under normal circumstances. I can attribute it to a kind police officer who understands a dog is protecting its territory, but as aggressive and threatening as Tia can be in her territory, I do not believe that was the only explanation. Thank God, all of our animals turned out okay. One of our cats hid, and Jim retrieved the other from the animal shelter.
I prayed about Tia many times in jail. It was a miracle that the cops did not shoot her. I believe God knew what she meant to me, and that he wanted to show me his love for me even when in the past I scoffed at Him. When I am doubting or feeling down today, all I need to do is look at Tia and I am reminded of God’s love for me. I believe without a doubt He is the only reason she is with us today. After both Joe and I bonded out of jail, we had accepted Christ and shortly after our release, we both got baptized at Providence Road Church of Christ.
In the Bible after Jesus had returned from the dead, He was having breakfast with his disciples. “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”” John 21: 15-17. The most important thing that Jesus wanted his disciples to do was love and tend to others. A lawyer of the Pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. He answered, “You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 34-40. God wants us to do for the “least of these.” He wants us to love others no matter what they do. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even the sinners love those who love them. If you do good for those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even the sinners do the same.” Luke 6: 32-34
Had it not been for Christians reaching out to Joe and myself, we would not have seen the love of Christ and accepted his Grace. Members of Providence Road Church of Christ showed us love and did not judge us despite all that was said about our case all over the news. The case was sensationalized because of the occult nature and the fact that I was involved in politics. When we were released from jail, church members offered us a place to stay, got us counseling, and even helped us financially.
If something happened to me, would you feed Tia for me? Would you come to our house and love on her despite how she growled at you? A Christian family at our church already did. They took her into their home while I was away at court. Like Tia, we were mean, hateful, and intolerant. However, through Christ’s love and mercy, we were saved. Would you give a dog a chance if it were growling at you and lunging toward you to bite? Would you be kind to someone and show them mercy if they were insulting and throwing insults at you or if they were beating you up? Jesus did even as he was being beaten and nailed to the cross.